With the national lockdown underway, everything except essential services have had to cease operating. At Jabulani safari lodge, while closed, carers of the resident elephant herd and the elephant orphanage are working around the clock.
The Jabulani Herd is a family group of fifteen elephants with thirty carers. According to the Jabulani website, ‘Each elephant has a distinctive characteristic and shares a unique bond with the rest of the group.’
View this post on Instagram
The herd is heading home as the Jabulani team put away the tractor and tools and prepare for Earth Hour together, with campfire-lit stories under our starry night sky. How are you spending your hour of lights-out, #connected2earth? #earthhour #jabulani #jabulanisafari #soulfuljabu #relaischateauxafrica #elephant #elephants #elephantherd #olifant #elefant #luxurysafari #safari #safarichic #safarilodge #luxurytravel #soulful_moments #soulfulsafari #big5 #wildlifeconservation #conservation #southafricaza #thisissouthafrica #loves_southafrica #animalovers #animalelite #africanamazing #lockdown2020
Adine Roode founded the first elephant orphanage in South Africa called HERD: Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development. This facility is located on the same property as the Jabulani safari lodge (Kapama Private Game Reserve).
It provides displaced or orphaned elephants with a second chance at life. It gives these vulnerable animals the chance to bond with another herd. The orphanage essentially provides ‘a unique adoptive family structure for baby elephants in need,’ says the organisation’s website.
The orphanage is situated next door to the Jabulani Herd stables. Elephant orphans are introduced into the herd based on their individual emotional needs. As most of the Jabulani Herd are orphans themselves, they accept other orphans into their herd following a lot of hard work and dedication from the HERD team.
View this post on Instagram
Adine and the team had a little extra help cleaning the Jabulani herd stables today. Khanyisa has been exploring more and more around @herd_elephants and she is also spending more time in the Jabulani stables to familiarise herself with the different smells from the herd. We will soon be calling her “Dora the explorer” with her new sense of adventure!😉😁💚🐘 #jabulani #jabulanisafari #soulfuljabu #relaischateauxafrica #elephant #elephants #elephantherd #olifant #elefant #luxurysafari #safari #safarichic #safarilodge #luxurytravel #soulful_moments #soulfulsafari #big5 #wildlifeconservation #conservation #southafricaza #thisissouthafrica #loves_southafrica #animalovers #animalelite #africanamazing
In January, a rare addition to the orphanage was an albino elephant calf, named Khanyisa. The calf was rescued from a hunting snare where she was severely injured. She had struggled to get out, only causing the snare to tighten.
In a statement, HERD said: ‘This little girl is so unbelievably brave. The odds of her survival have been stacked against her from birth; she was born as an albino, she then endured excruciating pain trapped in the jaws of a manmade snare, and left to fight for her fragile life for an unknown amount of days. We can only try to comprehend the amount of pain she felt, how scared she felt, was her herd with her when it happened, was she alone? And how hot and thirsty she must have been. How could she possibly survive?
It is clear to us now; it is her spirit; she is a fighter. Her spirit is strong.’
Since then, Khanyisa has gone from strength to strength under the care of HERD. When she goes out on excursions, alongside her carers, her back is covered with a blanket so as to protect her skin from the sun.
View this post on Instagram
Another excursion to the dam for Khanyisa! (FULL VIDEO🎥link in our PROFILE⬆️) When the weather broke for a few hours, Adine and Herman took Khanyisa out again to the dam, (camouflaged in zebra print!) with her BFF Lammie by her side. Along the way, she stopped to investigate a dead tree trunk with termites in it, and showed off her ever-improving trunk skills! She seemed to have a change of behaviour at one stage, and it turns out she picked up the scent of lions that had been in the area a few hours earlier, and we came across some of their dung too. Instinct prevails! Khanyisa enjoyed a bottle of milk at the dam with Herman, before we returned to the orphanage. A lovely little outing🤗. #khanyisaadventures #dailywalk #helloworld #walkswithfriends #camouflage #zebraprint #herdsouthafrica #albinoelephant #babyalbinoelephant #albinism #everyelephantneedsaherd #hoedspruitelephants #elephantorphanage #southafrica #animallovers #elephantconservation #albino #animalovers #elephantsofinstagram #elephants #elephant #babyelephant #elephantcalf #elephant🐘 #elephants #elephantlove #elephantlovers #everysingleelephantcounts
The founding elephant of the herd, a bull named Jabulani met young Khanyisa on Sunday, 29 March as part of the integration process. In a Facebook post, the organisaiton said: ‘Khanyisa was following Adine around in the morning at HERD, as she likes to do. Adine needed to visit the Jabulani herd, so she stepped out of the nursery to see the elephants in the bush, but Khanyisa wanted to be by her side. Adine returned to the stables and took Jabulani with her and then opened for Khanyisa to come inside. As Adine headed to the stables, Khanyisa followed after her and then the moment came… Jabulani and Khanyisa, no barriers, touching trunks.’
‘Khanyisa is still at times apprehensive with these new sights and smells, but she was much more relaxed today in the stables than ever before. After meeting with Jabulani, Khanyisa headed off to help Adine clean, joyously attacking a lucern bale, playing with a branch and eating dung. The tractor was moving around her and she continued to play and go back to Adine for reassurance once in a while. She is more relaxed with the carers in the stables too.
‘We have changed her milk as she continues to grow and we are happy to say that she has no side effects or diarrhea. Even with the new routines, meaning that she isn’t under stress.’
You can watch the heartwarming interaction below:
The selfless work that the carers are doing to help Khanyisa not only survive but to join a new herd is commendable.
Image: Screenshot from video